Food security

SA Donates R120 Million to Somalia

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation has announced that South Africa has put aside R120 million to assist Somalia.

Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane says the humanitarian assistance will focus on liberated areas.

She says that the African Union has now declared that famine has ended in the area, but there is still a need for two million people to be supported through humanitarian aid.

Government to Train Farmers

The government will train more than 2 000 small farmers over the next year in cost-effective farming methods.

According to documents tabled with the 2012/13 Budget in Parliament, the Estimates of the National Expenditure says that the farmers will also be advised, by the department of rural development and land reform on which crops to plant.

Famine Is Over in Somalia - UN

The United Nations (UN) says that an exceptional harvest after good rains and food deliveries by aid agencies have ended famine in Somalia although conditions remain fragile and could worsen.

UN humanitarian coordinator for Somalia, Mark Bowden, warns that the gains are fragile and will be reversed without continued support.

FAO to Eradicate Hunger Globally

The new director general of the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), José Graziano da Silva, has indicated that Africa will be his priority at a time of limited resources.

Graziano da Silva, who played an important role in Brazil's successful ‘zero hunger’ initiative, argued the key to improving food security in Africa is the political will to eradicate hunger, which could in turn be translated into action through financial resources, research and good practice.

Africa Urged to Support Farmers

The Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources Policy Analysis Network says that African governments should put their money where their mouths are when it comes to farming.

The Network CEO, Lindiwe Sibanda, told reporters at the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that in the 2003 Maputo Declaration, countries on the continent agreed to devote 10 percent of their national budgets to agriculture.

Climate Change Impacts on Food Security

The Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is sitting on a long list of farmers applying for aid relief, with their plight prompted by adverse change in weather patterns.

MEC for Agriculture and Rural Development, Nandi Mayathula-Khoza, says that weather conditions such as hail have a negative impact on farming communities and threaten food security.

"We have received requests from farmers for assistance because their crop was destroyed by hail. We have a long list of them," explains Mayathula-Khoza.

Climate Change Threatens Rivers – Experts

Experts have warned that climate change is likely to lead to increased average rainfall in the world's major river basins but weather patterns will be fickle and the timing of wet seasons may change, threatening farming and food stocks.

The International Centre for Tropical Agriculture’s Simon Cook, points out that, "In some parts of the Limpopo even widespread adoption of innovations like drip irrigation may not be enough to overcome the negative effects of climate change on water availability."

FAO: Traditional Crops Key to Facing Climate Change

The United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) says that traditional food crops and other plant varieties worldwide are in urgent need of protection from climate change and other environmental stresses.

FAO director-general, Jacques Diouf, called on countries to develop specific policies to conserve and make wider use of plant varieties for generations to come.

World Vision Sow the Seeds of Success in Umzimvubu

Started in 1998 by the Damane family in Matatiele, Eastern Cape, the Ntantaise Food Security Project has now grown into a community garden project, with close to 30 members. Through World Vision’s intervention, the 52 hectare land project has become a significant source of food and income for community members, who would not otherwise be able to produce their own food. A sentiment recently echoed by the Department of Agriculture during a flea market, where the project was awarded for its excellent vegetable produce.

Farmers Urged to Invest in Equipment

Marthinus Loock, senior manager of Agri Business at Standard Bank, has urged farmers to increase focus on buying new equipment to survive the volatility of the agricultural market.

Loock says that the increase in tractor sales this year indicated that farmers are capitalising on what has been an extremely favourable situation triggered by a combination of the strong rand, a low interest environment, and improved commodity prices.

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